Everyone wants to keep drilling for natural gas, so it is no surprise the makers of chemicals used in hydrofracking back new gas drilling rules proposed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Members of the American Chemical Council, which represents makers of hydrofracking chemicals sold to drilling companies, were in Albany to meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to support DEC rules that would open much of the state’s Southern Tier to drilling.
The proposed DEC rules show balance and are adequate to protect air and water from potential pollution, said Cal Dooley, president of the council and a former Democratic congressman from California.
He said while some hyrofracking chemicals are toxic and carcinogenic, public exposure to such chemicals is manageable, and there are no known cases of the chemicals, which inject deep underground under pressure to fracture gas-bearing rock layers, reaching the surface to contaminate water or air.
Part of the proposed rules issued this month by DEC would make New York the first state to require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals injected into wells. Dooley said the industry supports that, as long as the state does not disclose “confidential business information.”
DEC will start a 60-day comment period on the proposal next month.
Dooley said cases of contaminated drinking water occur, like that found in Dimmock, Pa., where the home owner could actually set well drinking water on fire, occur when drillers do not properly seal well bores, allowing lighter-than-air methane gas to rise through wells, fissures in rock and into drinking wells.
Dooley said the chemical manufacturers support “state-by-state” regulations to address hydrofracking risks, rather than a comprehensive federal approach.